1. -- U.S. stock futures turned higher Thursday following a sudden turn down in Wednesday's trading after the Federal Reserve committed to further monetary tightening in 2017. Investors also were nervously anticipating the first meeting between Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
The S&P 500 declined 0.31%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.20%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.58%. Stocks had rallied earlier Wednesday following very strong U.S. private payroll numbers from ADP.
The minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting in March revealed that central bank officials saw a gradual rate of interest rate hikes, though several said they wanted a faster pace. Fed members also said meaningful fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration wouldn't be felt until 2018. Many Fed officials have yet to include fiscal policy in their predictions for economic growth, though some had said there was upside risk to their forecasts.
The Fed raised the federal funds rate in March for the third time since 2008. It also forecast two more rate hikes this year.
The Trump-Xi meeting in Florida Thursday and Friday is "probably the most important U.S.-China summit in decades, and it will have significant impact on global trade and security," said Margaret Yang Yan, an analyst at CMC Markets Singapore. "Some key topics include trade, currencies and the issues with North Korea."
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. EST. San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams is scheduled to join a debate on -- "Do monetary policy frameworks need to be adjusted in a world of (potentially) low natural real interest rates? If so, how?" at Goethe University in Frankfurt, at 9:30 a.m.
2. -- Jeff Bezos, the founder of CEO of Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) , has been selling about $1 billion worth of the internet retailer's stock annually to fund his Blue Origin rocket company.
Blue Origin had hoped to begin test flights with company pilots and engineers this year, but that probably won't happen until 2018, Bezos told reporters at the annual U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Reuters reported.
"My business model right now ... for Blue Origin is I sell about $1 billion of Amazon stock a year and I use it to invest in Blue Origin," Bezos said.
The CEO said the ultimate plan for Blue Origin is that it become a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise, with a long-term goal to cut the cost of space flight so that millions of people can live and work off Earth, Reuters reported.
Bezos, Amazon's largest shareholder, would have to sell about 1.1 million shares to meet his pledge of selling $1 billion worth of Amazon stock.
Amazon shares finished Wednesday at $908.31, down 0.1%. The stock was up slightly in premarket trading on Thursday.
3. -- Unilever (UL) will sell its spreads business and combine its food and refreshment businesses into one unit, decisions that follow a strategic review launched after a failed takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz (KHC - Get Report) in February.
Medtronic and Cardinal Health have entered into exclusive talks over the sale of the business, and a deal could be announced later this month, the sources told Reuters.
For Cardinal Health, the deal would boost efforts to build out its medical products business, which it has highlighted as a priority, Reuters noted.
The sale would streamline Medtronic's portfolio after its acquisition of Covidien in 2014. In that deal, Medtronic inherited most of the company's medical supplies business, which sells everything from syringes to surgical instruments, according to Reuters.
5. -- MGM said it would pay Viacom (VIAB - Get Report) and Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A - Get Report) a total of $1.03 billion to take full ownership of the Epix premium cable network. MGM views Epix's four traditional pay-TV channels as a means to increasing its production of TV serials while providing wider distribution for its film library, which includes the James Bond franchise, The Wizard of Oz, Jaws and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
A deal was said to be close last month, and TheStreet included an MGM buyout of its Epix partners in a media predictions piece in December. TheStreet earlier in December said Epix's owners were considering an initial public offering but also had received outside interest, although no talks were ongoing.